Thanksgiving season is coming up fast, and with it comes plenty to look forward to: turkey, stuffing and pie; the Thanksgiving Day Parade, football (Green Bay takes on Detroit at 12:30 p.m.); and Black Friday sales, of course.
But as much fun and frenzy as Black Friday brings, many Wisconsinites are learning about the even better day that follows it: Small Business Saturday, a day to explore the unique local businesses near you and pick up holiday presents for loved ones (or even yourself) that you can’t find anywhere else.
So, where are you shopping this Small Business Saturday? Here are some of the best shopping streets in the Milwaukee area and the exciting, one-of-a-kind things you’ll find by strolling down each of them. Good luck and happy bargain hunting.
Historic Third Ward Milwaukee
Ten square blocks of self-proclaimed “O.G. Milwaukee” are at your disposal in the city’s Historic Third Ward. This neighborhood showcases the best of Milwaukee in the heart of the city, with independent shops to suit all tastes. The Third Ward is home to a bounty of independent shops selling everything from clothing and accessories to art supplies. You can knock out some culinary shopping in the Milwaukee Public Market, which along with being a food hall offers gift opportunities at spots like Thief Wine and The Spice House. Your four-legged friends can get in on the fun at Salty Paws, an ice cream parlor and bakery for dogs. After you’ve made your purchases, take a culture break at one of the Third Ward’s many galleries or grab some food and drink at a cafe, restaurant, or independent brewery.
Downer Avenue, Downtown Milwaukee
Don’t let the name fool you—this street is anything but a “downer.” The historic East Side avenue is home to shops, restaurants, and even a century-old movie theater. On Small Business Saturday, you can pick up something with sparkle at Rohr Jewelers, which is celebrating its 90th birthday in 2023, or find your next great read at Boswell Book Company, one of Milwaukee’s best independent bookstores. Don’t forget to swing by Nehring’s Sendrik’s grocery for some fresh-baked bread and snacks for home.
Located in Milwaukee County, Greendale is home to a historic downtown area that combines small-town charm with thoroughly contemporary shopping and dining. Head to Galleria Greendale for unique jewelry, accessories, and homeware made by local and far-flung artists and artisans, or find something nostalgic and fun at Price’s Collectibles. Want to really think local? Greendale’s own Our Wisconsin Outlet Store & More is home to exclusively Wisconsin-made local items, from food to clothing to kitchen supplies.
The Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement, Cedarburg
Historic Cedarburg, which traces its roots back to German and Irish immigrants in the 1840s, is located just north of Milwaukee in Ozaukee County. Bursting with small-town charm, Cedarburg is home to The Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement. The original structure of the Wittenberg Woolen Mill, built in 1864, has been beautifully converted into The Shops at Cedar Creek Settlement, home to several truly unique Wisconsin small businesses. Shoppers can browse for everything from bespoke bath products at Cedar Creek Apothecary to vintage and antique treasures at Dime a Dance, to locally-made home decor at Pineapple House. Afterwards, consider a glass of Wisconsin wine at Cedar Creek Winery.
Delafield is another gem of southwestern Wisconsin. Located just west of Waukesha, it makes for the perfect mini-road trip from Milwaukee on Small Business Saturday. The lively downtown area is home to a variety of independent retailers to enjoy, from literary magic at Hidden Staircase bookstore to fun with fashion at Delafield Main Street Boutique–even classic cars at An American Classic. If you need a bit more energy to keep on shopping, pop by Inclusion Coffee Company for one of their specialty seasonal drinks—and maybe a brownie while you’re there.
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